Three reasons to do ... straight leg kicks

The move: Straight leg kicks

Three reasons to do it now:

• It boosts performance. A study of cadets and the United States Military Academy found they performed better in all tests of power and agility after doing dynamic warm ups -- like this move -- than static stretches or no warm-up at all, according to the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.

• It primes the body for work. Dynamic warm ups set the stage for a killer performance: It increases muscle and tendon suppleness, stimulates blood flow to your extremities, increases body temperature, increases oxygen uptake, increases heart rate and makes your nerves and muscles more responsive and ready for action.

• It's about more than flexibility. "Not only does the move improve the flexibility of your hamstrings and mobility in your hips, it makes you move just as you would in any athletic activity," said espnW columnist Amy Dixon, an exercise physiologist and group fitness manager for Equinox in Santa Monica, Calif. "Active hamstring flexibility and hip mobility are especially crucial for soccer players and basketball players. You need to be able to get your leg off the ground by engaging the hip to kick the ball or stop the ball or when going up for a layup or dunk."